Bridge of the Headless Horseman

Bridge of the Headless Horseman

Gigi's Journal - January 25, 2012

Today was one of those days that ranks pretty high on the scale of amazing places visited.  Ray, Michael, Oliver and I went to Ellis Island.  A little background first.

When I was 13, I started researching my family's genealogy.  I started with my Mother's family and then went on to my Father's family.  In the last 15 years I started researching my husband's family history.  I have researched about 20 families that I am not related to.  I have found a distant cousin's long lost grandfather, I have found skeletons in closets, war heroes and poor farmers who centuries ago could not even fathom that someone (me) would have access to records that they saw, signed or put their 'x' on.

One of my challenges has been finding my husband's father's family.  He was fortunate to know his grandfather, Raymond "Smitty" Carl Schmidt.  We have photos of Smitty's father and mother, knew their names but had little information on where they came from and how they got here.

Over years and even recently I have discovered that Smitty's father, Sigmund Schmidt, arrived at Ellis Island on June 5, 1901.

Sigmund and Bertha traveled 785 miles from their hometown Kalvarija, Lithuania to Bremen where they would board the ship - Friederich de Gosse on May 25, 1901.  Eleven days later they would set their eyes on Lady Liberty and see a cityscape like they've not seen before.  Imagine 20 and 16 years old, leaving your mother and two sisters to travel half way across the world to America.  Their oldest sister, Amelia, arrived in America just 4 years earlier.  She and her husband, Johan Schitz (Schutz, Schultz) already have two boys, John and Charles.  They are living in Seymour, Connecticut.

Just about one year later, their mother Elizabeth and two sisters, Ida and Emma arrive at Ellis Island.  They, like Sigmund and Bertha, left their home in Kalvarija, Lithuania and traveled to Bremen, Germany.  They boarded the S.S. Grosser Kurfurst on July 26, 1902 and arrived at Ellis Island on August 5, 1902.  

Upon arriving at Ellis Island, they went to the Registry Room where they would get a six second medical exam, one that ensured that immigrants didn't bring disease into the country.  If there were women and children traveling without a male, as was the case with Elizabeth, Ida and Emma, they would wait until a male family member showed up to "claim" them.  I'm not certain if Sigmund or Johan came to get Elizabeth and the girls.   I'd like to think they both made the 80 mile journey to pick them up.

The pictures below were taken today on our Ellis Island visit.  Enjoy!
The skyline has changed a bit since 1901 when Bertha
and Sigmund first caught a glimpse.  I'll bet it was still
breathtaking!

Lady Liberty!

"Does this torch make my butt look big?"

A sampling of what luggage they may have been carrying.

The Registry Room.

Ray, Mike and Oliver Schmidt standing in the
room that Oliver's gggg-grandmother was in :)

Looking out the window of the Registry Room.

How many children walked on these floors?

A view of Ellis Island from the ship.

An amazing journey.

The sun setting.


on a crowded ship

Gigi's Journal - January 22, 2012

Made it to NY in time for the first real snow of the season.  5 inches of dry snow, a sled and a 2 year old - what more could you ask for?  Playing in the snow, however, is a mixed pleasure.

I grew up in Maryland.  We got our share of snow each winter.  Not too much but just enough for the children to sit by the radio on school days and wait for their county to be listed as "school closed".  Or to wake up in the morning when it snowed through the night and get a glimpse of the front yard and street covered in a blanket of white, untouched and covering everything that wasn't moving fast enough.  Or to stand outside when the snow was falling hard and fast, listening to a silence that is hard to express.  No cars, no birds, no sound of the snow hitting it's target - nothing.  Silence.  What wasn't silent were the sounds of children begging mothers and fathers to let them go out and play in the snow.

As a child all you cared about was getting out in the snow and depending on whether it was "wet" or "dry" would determine what activity you would partake in.  For those who don't know snow, dry snow is not good for snowball fights and snowmen.  There were drawbacks of getting outside in the snow as a child.  You would play and play not giving much thought to the fact that maybe your socks or gloves got wet.   And when they got wet, in freezing temperatures, you were cold.  You didn't realize it until your mom called you inside.  We would sit by the furnace and cry while your hands and feet "thawed" out.  It's truly the most miserable part of outdoor winter activity.  Oliver experienced that for the first time yesterday.

We were out in the snow and now freezing rain.  Oliver was having the time of his life.  His gloves, unfortunately, didn't stay on.  We'd put them on, he'd take them off.  We'd put them on, he'd take them off. Etc.  When we left to walk home, he began to realize just how much his hands hurt.  He cried all the way home.  It wasn't until he got inside and started warming up, that he stopped crying.  I felt so bad for him.  I remember all too well that pain.  On a good note, Oliver is a quick learner.  While out sledding today he kept the gloves on his hands the entire time :)

22 degrees and 1,050 feet up in the air - no problem!  It was breathtaking and C-O-L-D!   The Empire State Building is majestic.  Art Deco = awesome!  What a spectacular view.  

C-O-L-D!

Ollie and Papa!

This bird was hanging around on the ledge of the overhang.  What a brave bird :-D

Mike and Oliver

Sledding solo!

"This looks simple."

Make that, "this looks dangerous"!

Staying away from the cold.

On top of the Empire State Bldg

What a spectacular view.  Even if Mike did get scolded by the attendant for hanging out of the fence :)
I hope you enjoyed the pics!

Gigi's Journal - January 13, 2012

The white area in the black "kidney-bean"
shaped area is "Peanut" a.k.a. Oliver.
Today was another very special day in our families lives!  Three years ago today, we found out that Peanut, a.k.a. Oliver, would be joining our family.  No one could have prepared me for what that would mean.  I have heard friends who had grandchildren try to explain just how wonderful it is and how much love they had for their children's children.  I would just smile and think "one day".  

Now, today, I am one of those who tries to explain that love to others less fortunate or perhaps just not at that phase in life.  It's like being pregnant with your second baby and wondering "how can I love this child (inutero) as much as I love the one I have".  You just do!  It's exponential.  Love multiplies when a child (grandchild) is added to the family.  Same thing when The Girls came into our lives.  
Oliver sans clothing per usual.

Coeur all bundled up!
Speaking of The Girls went to the Pediatrician and here are their latest stats:
Coeur d'Lane weighs 14 pounds 7 ounces and is 25 1/4" long.  Lennon is 14 pounds and 25" long.   Big girls!

Gigi's Journal - January 7, 2012

One year ago today our family received some of the most amazing news!  It was on this day, last year, that we learned Brooke was carrying triplets.  Though the news was overwhelming and hard to palate, we were ecstatic.  Little did we know,  just a few months later, how much more pressed we would become.

Coeur,  Emerson and Lennon before we knew who they were!
Today I am grateful for the gifts our family was given in the form of three little girls.  While I'm sad that we won't know Emerson Earth-side, I am blessed to hold, hug, kiss and love on the two who stayed with us.

Gigi's Journal - January 6, 2012

Oliver got a "PiePad" for Christmas!

Chris opening gifts that the girls got from Mike & Colleen.

Santa Claus???

Stephanie and Baby Fisher!
Happy New Year!  Been a busy week with family in town celebrating our fourth Christmas but everyone has gone to their own homes now.  Here are some pics of the visits.